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Issue 52 - The Coach as a Leader - Part 8 (Be A Mentor)

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 1 Issue 52
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The Coach as a Leader - Part 8 (Be A Mentor)

A mentor is defined as someone who imparts wisdom to and shares knowledge with a less experienced colleague; a trusted counselor or guide.


In his book A Game Plan for Life: The Power of Mentoring with Don Yaeger, (a book I highly recommend) Coach Wooden commented on mentoring in the following manner:


While I made my living as a coach, I have lived my life to be a mentor—and to be mentored!—constantly.


Everything in the world has been passed down. Every piece of knowledge is something that has been shared by someone else. If you understand it as I do, mentoring becomes your true legacy. It is the greatest inheritance you can give to others. It is why you get up every day—to teach and be taught.


Coach Wooden has often pointed out the profound influence his father Joshua had on him. This was discussed extensively in our first eight issues when we described his father’s Two Sets of Three and Seven Point Creed. Three other key points of wisdom that Coach attributed to his father were:


Never try to be better than someone else. But always be learning from others. Never cease trying to be the best you can be. One is under your control, the other isn’t.


You'll never know a thing that you didn't learn from someone else.


The more concerned we become over the things we can’t control, the less we will do with the things we can control.


Mother Theresa and Abraham Lincoln were two historical figures that Coach considered to be his mentors. He described their influence this way:


Both of them lived their lives completely devoted for others. Lincoln was President during the most difficult time in our country. He never lost his common man approach. At the end of the terrible war between the states he was being criticized by the Secretary of State who told him: “You're supposed to destroy your enemies, not make friends of them” His answer, of course, was “Am I not destroying an enemy if I make a friend of him?” And he said: “The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.”He said: “The worst things you can do for those you love are the things they could and should do for themselves.” He said: “It’s better to trust and be disappointed occasionally than to distrust and be miserable all the time.” Mother Theresa said: “A life not lived for others is not a life.” And if anyone ever truly lived their life for others, it was Mother Theresa.

I'd say she's the person I have the most respect and admiration for that's lived in my lifetime. Lincoln was my favorite American.


Coach also considered his grammar school coach, Earl Warriner, high school coach, Glenn Curtis and college coach, Piggy Lambert to be valuable mentors.


I would be remiss if I failed to mention the amazing impact Coach often alluded to that his wife of 53 years, Nellie, had on his life.


The example that Coach Wooden set for us is that we all have opportunities to positively influence others every day. Remembering, as Coach liked to say:


You cannot live a perfect day without doing something for someone without thought of repayment.


Yours in coaching,


Craig Impelman


Twitter: @woodenswisdom



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Application Exercise

Favorite Poetry

1. To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
2. To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.
3. To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.
4. To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.
5. To think only the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.
6. To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
7. To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
8. To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.
9. To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.
10. To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.
Christian D. Larson


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